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Boys Basketball: Seton falls in 2A title game

Seton's Mark Weems Jr. goes hoop over Harrisburg's Ryne Roper. | Patrick Gleason~For Sun-Times Media

Seton's Mark Weems Jr. goes to the hoop over Harrisburg's Ryne Roper. | Patrick Gleason~For Sun-Times Media

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Updated: April 11, 2013 6:39AM



Seton’s state tournament basketball run has been a model of toughness, aggression and grace under pressure.

The team’s quest for a second state basketball championship in five years came to a shocking halt when star senior guard Mark Weems Jr. was ejected with 2:05 to play in the second quarter after making contact with an official after objecting to a technical foul called against him moments earlier.

Seton lost its emotional and team leader and a rejuvenated Harrisburg rode the momentum-changing sequence to a 50-44 victory over Seton in the Class 2A state championship game at Carver Arena at the Peoria Civic Center on Saturday night.

Seton’s coaches and players accepted their second-place medallions. They left the court without the presentation of the second-place trophy. Seton coach Brandon Thomas refused to talk with the media.

An IHSA official called the Sting’s actions unprecedented and said the team effectively forfeited its trophy.

Harrisburg’s Tyler Smithpeters scored a game-high 23 points to power the Bulldogs (33-1). Capel Henshaw scored 13 points.

“I was just trying to do whatever I could to help us win a state championship,” said Smithpeters, the son of the school’s coach.

Kamal Shashi scored nine points to lead the Sting (22-11). He shot just 3-of-14 from the floor. Seton shot just 8-of-24 in the second half as Harrisburg rallied from a 24-23 halftime deficit.

After Weems’ ejection, Harrisburg closed the half with an 8-1 run.

The other number that illustrated the Sting’s difficulties was 6-of-17. That was what the Sting shot at the free-throw line. By contrast, Harrisburg shot 24-of-31 at the free-throw line.

Weems Jr. scored eight points as Seton built an impressive 23-13 advantage midway through the second quarter. Shashi drilled two three-pointers to support the early burst.

Seton appeared to regain its composure at the start of the third quarter behind tough inside baskets by senior forwards Alex Foster and Johnny Patterson. Patterson’s basket pushed the lead to 30-25.

Smith’s three-pointer from the right wing provided the Sting’s final lead at 33-30 midway through the third quarter. Harrisburg guard Ryan Roper responded with a three-pointer that ignited an 11-3 Harrisburg run.

Harrisburg spread the floor and forced the Sting to foul. Smithpeters scored 15 of his points in the second half.

Seton made one final run as Armahn Mooring converted two free throws and Christopher Seaton scored on a layup to pull the Sting to within 47-44 with just over a minute to play.

Harrisburg converted three free throws in the final moments to seal the first state title in the school’s history.

Alex Foster contributed seven points and five rebounds for the Sting. Patterson contributed seven points and four rebounds. The Sting relied on a perimeter game to claw their way back but they shot just 1-of-13 on three-point attempts in the second half.

It marked the second straight year of a disappointing finish for the Sting, who went 0-2 in finishing in fourth place in the state tournament last year.



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